But emotionally, it is something I have not felt capable of internalizing. Fully half the voters, 18-ish percent of the population of this country if the math on Twitter was right, thinks that white supremacy is an acceptable choice, either as an explicit credo or an acceptable consequence. And we didn't see it coming, or thought it wouldn't come to pass.
What keeps sticking in my head is that scene in The Matrix Reloaded, where Neo meets the Architect. He reveals that the first Matrix didn't succeed because was too utopian, too perfect. So the second one was "redesigned based on your history to more accurately reflect the varying grotesqueries of your nature." This feels too horrid to be of this world, like an intrusion from a darker timeline. And the real bad shit hasn't even happened yet.
The thing that's been keeping me afloat (if barely) is thinking about George Takei's confidence that we can get through this. If somebody whose family was put into an internment camp thinks we have a chance, I will defer to the wisdom of my elders.
I had a very Star Trek filled Saturday. The husband and I went to go see Star Trek Beyond, and it was ridiculous in the best way (lol classical music, always and forever). One of my friends has posited that Fast and Furious movies make a lot more sense if you interpret them through the lens of a werewolf pack. I don’t think Jim Kirk would make a very good werewolf (please send recs if you would like to prove me wrong), but he protects his friends like one. And everybody was fucking amazing and got their moment, but Uhura <33333 Sulu (and his husband and daughter!) <3333333
And then I went and saw Star Trek in the park, basically. It is not something I would have gone to on my own, but one of my husband’s friends was McCoy in the production. (And I found out that my coworker’s husband is the director. Seattle is a very, very small town in many ways.) Also, Mark Okrand (inventor of Klingon and Vulcan) was there as the pre-show entertainment, and I learned that Klingons have forty synonyms for both war and foreheads.
They performed an adaptation of “Space Seed”, which is the one where they find Khan. I think the only episode of TOS I have ever seen is a little bit of the one where Kirk fights the Gorn (and the bits of “The Trouble With Tribbles” in the DS9 episode), so it was really amusing to see where people in the 60s thought where we’d be in the 90s. (There was a lot of flannel among Khan’s contemporaries.) The actress who played Khan was leaps and bounds ahead of Bendysnort Cramperpickle, who never had the charisma or depth of vision Montalban or this actress had.
I have been TOS-adjacent for years, so it was delightful to get an introduction to it from an amateur adaptation. Maybe I’ll give the rest of the series a shot.
Last time I was in Alaska, I was in the truck with my husband and father in law. My FIL ran a construction flagger’s sign and got pulled over for it. We were well into the stop when he finally told the officer he had a (legal, permitted) concealed weapon in the truck. The officer gave him A Look. She didn’t even write him up for the traffic violation. My father in law is white.
Other people have already discussed the content of the meta with greater facility than I have, so I will point you to this Storify of Rukmini Pande's and snarlfurillo's able and cogent discussion/contextualization of this meta in fandom history. And how the erasure of that context is violence.
The content bothers me, of course, but the thing that really trips me up is the structure of the damn thing itself. The use of statistics to supposedly bolster her points are specious and poor(ly chosen), and there's so much extrapolation and generalization of very specific events to be emblematic of wide swaths of TFA fandom itself. Even if she had been arguing for points I support, I would still be completely embarrassed to have such a shoddy, sloppily constructed thing trotted out for my side.
And it's just so goddamn self-satisfied, like she thinks she's so fucking clever when all she's doing is reiterating bullshit fans of color have heard for LITERAL DECADES about why characters who look like them don't deserve the same attention and love as some (as wildehack so charmingly put it) "ready-made mayo sandwich" side character. It's not original, it wasn't during Racefail, and it certainly isn't now. I'm glad fandom (at least the part I hang out in) is smart and aware enough to push back against it and call it what it is: marginalization, erasure, and racism.
I'm also feeling weird and anxious about writing because I didn't get anywhere near enough of what I wanted to get done. My Wintersend Exchange fic is still not done. I'm not worried about finishing it, but rather its general quality. I don't want to be that author who serves up a mediocre fic and the recipient has to grit their teeth and say something nice about it. You know how you read a fic and just know the writer's heart wasn't in the thing? I don't want that for my recipient. It's not a pairing I've ever written for (note to self: next year, specify your pairings gdi), and the voices don't feel right to me at all. I have eight days before the default deadline. I hope it goes all right.
I also didn't write anywhere near as much femslash as I was hoping, and I may be having difficulty coming to grips with the fact that I can't just push my brain into writing what I think I should be writing. Femslash is great! There should be so much more of it in the world! I have certainly written some in my time, but nowhere near the amount that I feel like I should have written, in comparison to the dudeslash or het. Obviously I feel like I should be pushing myself to write more of it, but also I want to just be like "Shut up brain, writing is hard enough without feeling you have to meet some sort of arbitrary target in your head."
Mostly I'm frustrated because January was such a good month writing-wise for me. I wrote something nearly every day, even if it was small, and it was really nice. Everything felt easy, and it was good. So of course February felt like pulling teeth. I hope March will be better.
So here is the crux of what I was going to say.
Aja Romano is a morally bankrupt accessory to a hate movement. She should be fucking ashamed of herself. But since she's not capable of it, we have to do it for her, and that is the part that irritates me most.
This is the part where I start sounding like a horridly vain, churlish, snobby as fuck writer. Because I am. And as such, I have High Standards for the type of feedback I want. I am perfectly happy with the existence of a kudos button on AO3. I prefer it, in fact! I don't always want to leave a comment, so it's cool that I have the option of a little +1/thumbs up to tell the author I read their thing and enjoyed it. (I wonder if this is also partially a difference between people who primarily interact with fanfic on AO3 vs the Pit of Voles, which doesn't have such a feature? So the only way you really can interact with the author is to comment. I don't know anything about Wattpad or its social interaction features.)
Maybe this is also partially because of the way I interact with and comment on fics? I feel like if you're going to leave a comment, you should make it a good one that shows you actually paid attention to the fic and got something out of it. (I like this approach. Also this one.) And that can take a lot of thought and brain cycles that I just don't have at the moment. So for me personally, because that's the way I do it, it's kind of disappointing when I get a comment notification and it says something like "Yay!" or similarly nonsensical. I mean, I'd never ever stop anybody from leaving a comment like that, because that's the way they show appreciation, but let me tell you, the number of times I've opened a comment notification and went "Oh. Okay." is a lot. But when you get that one comment, the one that leaves you completely flabbergasted and unable to reply for three days because you keep rereading it and going :DDDDD? It's totally worth it.
Council Estate (I love this song choice, the way it digs into the themes of the movie)
Monster (Lyons ensemble vid, turn up the sound. I like how it uses the structure of the song to build up to Cookie's section at the end.)
A Song of Innocence and Experience (the contrast between the song and the general horror of the vid is great)
About a Girl (Yes, it uses "My Humps". And it is fucking amazing.)
I Will Be (Gorgeous, sinister, unsettling.)
Flight of the Conchords
Daft Punk is Playing at My House (This makes me miss the show so much.)
Fresh Off the Boat
Family Affair (aka Jessica Huang, HBIC. The song is perfect.)
It's Gonna Be Me (Richard/Madalena. Oh honey, it's not. Madalena's faces in this, it's amazing)
Goddamn every single one of these is amazing, and I'm fucking overjoyed.
Bang Bang (show and Lin tribute. I legit cried.)
Comedy Tragedy History (I think this is a sort of #yayhamlet reference? I love the structure of the vid, the way it mixes the stage and external source very specifically.)
Dance Apocalyptic (Beautiful, kinetic.)
Here I Stand (The song is absolutely perfect. Everything about this is impeccable.)
I Gotta Feeling (I cried at this one too. So full of joy and love.)
Independent Women (Schuyler Sisters treat. So great.)
Jefferson Funk (Thomas Jefferson treat to "Uptown Funk". Perfect.)
Lose Yourself (I like how it uses the demo version of the song in this, and it's just perfect.)
Ready Or Not (Perfect song choice, impeccable.)
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
All That's Left Are Your Bones (gorgeous lady-centric vid)
One Beattt (not a song choice I would have expected, but it works really well.)
Skyfall (It makes the movie look grander and more serious than it actually is, with the beautiful shots of the environment and spaceships, but then, ROCKET HEELIES.)
Light 'em Up (John/Alice AND FOB? idk what I did to deserve this vid, but I'll keep on doing it.)
I of the Storm (This gorgeous vid makes me wish people loved this movie more.)
A Forest (gorgeous, a little dark and sinister in a way I like)
This short video of Barack Obama showing the things he carries in his pocket made me cry more than I wanted to at work. It's just such a him thing to do, enough that I feel deeply overwhelmed by it and am acutely aware I'm not really emotionally prepared for him to not be president anymore. God knows he's done a lot of things I've disagreed with as a president, but I've always liked him as a person, and I'm going to miss that a lot.
I got keyword trolled by some asshat on Twitter, so I told them to fuck off and blocked them. People like that need to fuck off and die, because that oxygen can be deployed far more usefully. I am normally all about the sanctity of human life, but if that's how you choose to spend your free time you're probably irredeemable.
I need to find some Finn/Rey blogs that aren't so fucking defensive about the ship. It's irritating, because I don't ever see the Finn/Poe blogs reblogging things that defend that ship's right to exist. The parallels in Finn's interaction with both of them make it pretty goddamn obvious to me. And, like, I'm sure according to Tumblr ~progressive~ logic it's considered less so because it's a M/F ship, but the complete lack of intersectionality in this particular analysis just makes me aargh. It's completely supported by the text, so I don't see why people can't just squee about the thing.
I suppose every writer has certain types of comments they don't like to receive. I know friends who hate "I'm not into X, but I liked it when you wrote it because Y" comments. I have discovered mine are "I find your characterization deviates from the conventionally accepted fanon, but I found it enjoyable anyways!" Newsflash: most fanon characterizations are shit, problematic, and/or reductive in one way or another (cf Pop Tarts!Thor, fuddy duddy/prude!Steve). And they're fucking lazy. Why bother actually thinking about how a character might behave in a situation when you have well-worn scripts to fall back on? A lot of fanon starts out as logical conclusions from the text itself, but then it becomes this ridiculous stupid game of telephone/shitty photocopies, until it becomes completely unrecognizable. And I really dislike that.
I have written a little bit about performativity and ritual without underlying praxis, not specifically as it relates to Tumblr, but it's a thing I see a lot of there, that sort of obsession with moral purity, social justice orthodoxy, and the flinging away of That Which Is Deemed Problematic. Sometimes it manifests itself hilariously (the great Oscar Isaac t-shirt controversy of 2016), other times viciously. It's been something that I've been thinking about lately, getting involved in a new fandom and looking at the way people engage with the, ah, more problematic ships that the fandom has decided to tack towards.
Mostly I'm irritated, because people feel the need to be really annoyingly moralistic about the things they think are problematic. And don't get me wrong, they're absolutely correct to acknowledge the hella problematic (by which I mean racist and abusive specifically) dynamics in the ships they dislike, but I tire of shitting on ships, even if I agree that they're terrible, just to make themselves/other people feel superior about the things they dislike. It's boring as hell and serves no purpose. Nobody's going to be convinced by some self-righteous rando that their shipping choices are bad/wrong, y'know? And as somebody who has cheerfully spite-shipped many things I was previously neutral on, it will probably make them do the opposite.
The other thing I wish people would do is just get into the fucking dumpster. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wallowing around in the thing, as long as you're cognizant of the wrong. This is why I feel the Hydra Trash Party model is the healthiest way to get your fix of nastiness:
thou shalt not judge the trashiness of thy neighbor's kinks unless thy neighbor is trying to pass off their rotting banana peels and half-eaten pizza crusts as a healthy romantic dinner for twoIt ain't healthy to take fucked-up dynamics and recast them as romantic (I'm looking at you, Reylo fandom), or to gloss over the abuse that happens in something like Jessica/Kilgrave to make it more palatable. If you're going to ship it, you'd better go into it with clear eyes, aware this puts you straight in the handbasket to hell.
[edit:] Tumblr reminds me of this wonderfully apt analogy between disgusting fanworks and fermentation. It's quite delightful.
And I suppose it also doesn't help that coinciding with this there was also a huge shift in the fandoms I post? It's lead to some super weird interactions which I have found unpleasant. Both of them are from people who have followed me for a fairly long time in internet terms, but I do not interact with at all. One tagged me in a super incoherent shitpost, the gist of which I think was "Why are you posting so much [new fandom] content?" Beyond the fact that everything on my goddamn Tumblr is tagged consistently so it can be avoided, who the fuck do you think you are, dictating what you think I can and should post? I have unfollowed people for changing fandoms, because it's not like I can't find other people who share interests? The Tumblrsphere is pretty closed, so another source of content isn't exactly far away. So I'm super confused why other people don't just go find another Dragon Age or Hamilton or whatever blog to follow. (I ended up blocking the person, because 1. fuck that 2. fuck them 3. they didn't want to see the things I post anyways.)
I also feel weird when I feel like people want to demand my attention but don't do things like, idk, make attempts to interact like normal human beings do on Tumblr? Which is to say, reach out and send me messages, participate in askbox memes, or add commentary on reblogs or whatever. I'm totally fine with that. It feels deeply uncomfortable to me when all the interaction I see is likes/reblogs and then get put on some random follow forever list. Especially when the person decides to read too much into the random timing and coincidence of reblogs on my dash and decides to ask (what feels to me) a super passive-aggressive post couched in language about not wanting to start a fight but expects an answer. (For context, these are the two posts. I don't believe that telling people how they can or should ship is in any way related to calling fandom out on its shitty racist politics which sometimes manifest in shipping.) I would have just ignored it, but then I got fucking sea-lioned by somebody about the second post and I'm goddamn irritated.
I get a lot of joy from sharing cool things I like. It's not really something I do for other people, although if they like it, I'm happy to let them in on the fun. I've lived most of my life on the Internet publicly, and that sharing has lead to connections and friendships, which I value more than I'm capable of expressing. It's not something I ever intend on stopping, but I just really resent the way that some people seem to think they can control how I do so.
1. Your main fandom of the year?
Fiction-wise, The Martian was so fucking fantastic.
I read only two non-fiction books this year, and I recommend them both: On Immunity by Eula Biss, and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
I was going to try something different this year and post all of my ficlet funeral bits to Tumblr in dribs and drabs, but that requires forethought, or at least patience and dedication. So fuck it, here you go, in one big lump.
Brooklyn Boy, the heavily fictionalized Steve/Bucky story written while he was in the ice, in the vein of The Song of Achilles. I never actually wrote the story, but I wrote around it.
Superbowl party. I should have finished this one up, before the Seahawks lost.
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Matt/Steve. This is my self-indulgent white dick ship.
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The Fisk/Wesley story about how they built the organization.
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Dragon Age: Inquisition
College AU, you've been listening to the Mountain Goats for five hours straight. Are you OK?
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Anne/Constance, after the episode where Constance basically kidnapped the baby
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Mad Max: Fury Road
The Dag, seeds and becoming the keeper of them
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Man from UNCLE
Napoleon, cooking (Gaby/Illya, Illya Napoleon)
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I guess we're here, once again (DAI, Dorian/Felix)
topside (DAI, Dagna/Lace Harding)
Unexpected (DAI, Cullen/Dorian)
if you are alive, give more now (DAI, Cassandra/Josephine)
may every nail be shown (Captain America, Steve/Bucky)
as the love that's gonna shine (MCU, Steve/Sam)
and if it's just tonight it's all in love (DAI, Dorian/Iron Bull)
*mumble* (it's locked on AO3, so I'm not linking to it)
we woke the snow (DAI, Cullen/Dorian)
we wore the jacket for the longest time (TFA, Finn/Poe/Rey)
taste the stardust in my mouth (TFA, Poe/Rey, Finn/Poe/Rey)
there is so much more inside me now (TFA, Rey & Luke)
various Tumblr ficlets
assorted graphics/very short vids
If you're curious, this is how it broke down by fandom (I spent half an hour figuring this out so fuck yes I'm going to share):
Dragon Age: Inquisition - 14407
MCU/Captain America - 8627
The Force Awakens - 7753
Other (Hamilton, Dishonored, Steven Universe, DS9, Daredevil, *mumble*) - 2432
I overshot my expected word count this year, so I'm pleased.
I was curious about a few things, so I kept notes out of my own curiosity about what sorts of perspectives I wrote from and what I wrote. Here's what I kept track of:
Het (outside of the context of an OT3) - 900 (2.9%)
Femslash - 1802 (5.8%)
Female POV - 8122 (22.9%)
POC (in a "real-world" context, so Sam Wilson counts, but Dorian Pavus would not) - 3246 (10.4%)
Obviously there's mathematical hinkiness with saying only certain types of characters/works count, but I don't remember why exactly I thought that only "real-world" contexts count, especially considering the sorts of, ah, discussions we seem to be having in lots of fandoms regardless of genre about characters of color, but it seemed an important distinction at the time. (I suspect that if I included characters like Dorian and Poe as part of the criteria, that last percentage would be even higher.)
Looking at the list of fanworks, it's clear to me that the works with female POVs tend to be the shorter ones: mostly ficlets that usually don't make it to AO3. Maybe that's something I should try and work on next year. I am genuinely surprised by how little het I write. Maybe I should write more. :P
In October I put my name in for Wham! Splat! Porn!, which is an Adoribull 24 hour porn challenge. I'm quite terrible at writing under pressure, so I'm really pleased that if it's just tonight it's all in love came together as well as it did.
I'm also really proud of we wore the jacket for the longest time. It's the longest story I've ever written. I know that's sad to say, but it's true.
we wore the jacket for the longest time. This was such a joy to write, even if it is a bit of a melancholy story. I just love them so much.
Topside and if you are alive, give more now. Everybody needs to read more femslash.
we wore the jacket for the longest time, oh my god. I am so flabbergasted and gratified people seem to like it a lot. It's going to fuck up my expectations of good hit/kudos ratios forever.
I know I said it last year too, but vulnerability is sexy. Steve and Sam talking about his wings in already the world entire, and making use of them.
Poe and I spent a lot of time getting to know him in we wore the jacket for the longest time.
as the love that's gonna shine. Working toward the reveal was delightful.
as the love that's gonna shine. I had a very difficult time setting up the Chekov's gun properly, for some reason. I rarely have to rework a story extensively, but this one got a lot of stuff ripped out and rewritten. I think part of the reason it was so difficult to write was I wanted the payoff without building the framework properly.
REY. FINN. POE GODDAMN DAMERON. I expected to love them, I did not expect to love them as deeply, intensely, and furiously as I do.
I don't really want to characterize it as a disappointment, because I'm in it for the fun? But I do have things I wanted to do but didn't. I finished less stuff than I expected (but I always do). I didn't finish a bunch of WIPs that have been hanging around longer than I wanted. I was going to work on the Adoribull Eagle AU but that totally didn't happen either.
I think I'm pretty transparent about the things I like. Pick one, pick them all.
“When we set off to face Corypheus, I prayed to the Maker, ‘If you are kind, please let me return, and I will make the most of the life You see fit to give me.’” She looks at Josephine, eyes glimmering in the dark. “I have been cowardly, quietly pining, because it never seemed like the right time to approach you. There was always something more important. But now we have accomplished what we set out to do, and I have no more excuses left.”
I don't let anything out the door I'm not OK with. Which is not to say there's things I couldn't have phrased better. But I could tweak forever if I was allowed, so I don't let myself.
the end of as the love that's gonna shine
Emily having tea with the Outsider (from this ficlet)
Matt/Karen/Foggy in this ficlet
Steve/Sam in this (nsfw) ficlet
Burr in this ficlet
Finish up the MCU stuff that's been hanging around. With phase three looking like a giant pile of shit and/or blah, I think it's time we took a break from each other until Cap 3.
AHAHAHAHAHA WHAT IS FINISHING THINGS YOU START. Also I was correct about the rest of phase 2 making us take a break from each other.
Finish up the Mass Effect fic that's been hanging around since 2012 oh my god
Also did not happen. Maybe next year.
Do more kinkmeme prompts. I want to get better at writing porn and this is about as low-stakes as it gets.
I wrote more porn than the previous year, and I did finally fill a kinkmeme prompt, but in the most verbose not-porny way possible, so half-credit? idk.
I don't know if I have any specfic goals for next year that I'm really hell-bent on achieving.
I think I would like to write a long story, probably the Adoribull Eagle AU, but at this point everything is so zomg TFA!!! that may be for later in the year when I can pull back a little from new fandom limerence.
Also I think I would like to write something unrepentantly trashy. Something totally dead dove do not eat that makes people who aren't into it go D: a lot.
This was not the fic I set out to write when I just wanted to fill a kinkmeme prompt. But I'm happy with it. It's strange to be writing fic for your first fandom when you've never done it before, but I could get used to it.
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It's been a long time since I've gone through these, so it was probably good. I tend to like citrusy, fresh scents, if that helps you calibrate. The ones I pulled out to use after this are Titania, Katharina, Mr. Ibis, and Shanghai.